Hannah Alexander
Heart beat
Home About Published Books In Progress Interviews
Announcemnts Links Contest Author's Notes Endorsments
Chapter-A-Week Contact Hannah Alexander Press Kit
Necessary Measures Excerpt pg 2



Grant pulled out his stethoscope. “And who is your family physician?”

Gil slanted him a glance, then slid it away again. “Don’t have one.”

“I see. What medications are you presently taking for—”

“Look, I’m not on no medications, all right?” Gil snapped. “What’s with the twenty-question stuff? I just need you to help me. My lungs are killing me.”

Grant nodded and placed the chart on the counter. “Let’s get you started on a breathing treatment.” He turned to Gina, who was already assembling the nebulizer unit. “Gina, let’s do 4 milligrams of Decadron and 2.5 milligrams of Ventolin.”

“Ready to load, Doctor.” She stepped to the oxygen line, connected her medicines, and adjusted the flow. As she placed the mouthpiece of the unit in Gil’s mouth she indicated for him to hold it, then leaned toward him and tapped at his front shirt pocket. “Got some cigarettes there, I see. You smoke?”

Lauren suppressed a smile. Gina was an outspoken opponent of smoking, and she seemed to lack fear when it came to confronting patients about their bad habits.

This patient glared at her, then laid his head back against the pillow. “No law against it.”

“Gil, let’s listen to your breathing.” Grant eased the patient forward and raised his shirt to press the stethoscope against the man’s back. He listened a moment, then straightened. “You say your lungs hurt? What’s the sensation? Are they—”

“They burn, okay?” Gil snapped. “It’s my throat, mostly.”

“That doesn’t sound like an asthmatic reaction. You might need—”

“Hey, I think that stuff might be working. It doesn’t feel so bad now.”

“Good. It’s fast-acting medication,” Grant said.

“So you’re feeling better, Gil?” Gina asked.

He closed his eyes and nodded. “Yeah. So give the lady a medal.”

Gina stepped to the far side of the exam room and rubbed her nose.

“Now, Gil,” Grant said, “I need more information about the onset of your breathing problem. I noticed you were holding your throat. Did you accidentally inhale something that set off the—”

“Yeah, that’s what happened,” Gil said. “My girlfriend gave me some ... you know, some caustic stuff to clean the tub, and I breathed too much of it.”

Lauren saw Gina’s sudden expression of disbelief, then the shake of her head. No way had this guy been cleaning a tub when he didn’t even bother to clean his own body.

Grant reached for a tongue depressor. “I don’t think this is an asthma attack. We need to see if there’s some other cause of distress. Let’s get a look at your throat.” He took the nebulizer mouthpiece out of Gil’s mouth and handed it to Gina to hold for a moment. “Open wide, Gil.”

The patient’s eyes narrowed. He darted a glance at Grant, then at Lauren, then slowly opened his mouth. Lauren caught a quick glimpse of rotten teeth and a fiery red mouth and throat.

Grant nodded. “Mm-hmm.” He took the unit from Gina and placed it back in Gil’s mouth, then turned to Lauren. “Let’s go ahead and establish an IV for some Solu-Medrol. Draw for blood.”

Lauren was already prepared. She reached for Gil’s left arm and unbuttoned the sleeve of his shirt. There were no appreciable veins. She moved the sleeve further up above his elbow.

“No!” He jerked away. “I hate needles!” He grabbed at the sleeve, but not before she saw the scars.

Gina gasped softly. Lauren stared. The man had some nasty ... track marks?


Necessary Measures Excerpt pg 2